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Kickstarting a portable electric motor for city-share bikes

An entrepreneur is looking for $100K on Kickstarter to fund production of Shareroller, an ingenious, portable, snap-on electric motor for city-share bikes, like those in NYC, London, Toronto, Montreal, DC, Minneapolis, etc. The motor -- which weighs about 7 lbs and is the size of a ream of printer-paper -- clips onto the triangular docking prong on the front of the bike, and uses a retractable friction-wheel to impart energy to the bike. It also works on scooters and personal bikes, though these require a special mount.

Shareroller sports a big, powerful battery, and the inventor is alive to the possibilities here. It includes USB charge-ports for your phone and other devices, so you can charge while you ride. It also has a set of high-powered headlights. The 750W, 1hp motor has a maximum range of 12 miles at 18mph (it will go farther is you help by pedalling).

The device is reportedly ready for production. $1000 gets you one from the initial run. $1300 is full list price (more if you opt for the range-extending extra battery). They'll sell you one of their functional, pre-production prototypes for $2000, shipping as soon as the Kickstarter is fulfilled, and replaced with a production model when they are available.

The creator has a fairly impressive track record of making and shipping stuff, though, as with all Kickstarters, there is no guarantee that your money will get you anything.

I like the exercise I get from pedalling around on short-hire bikes in London. But I also like the idea of getting all the way across town in the middle of summer and arriving without being drenched in sweat. I don't know that I'd spend $1,000 (or $1,300) to attain that state, though.

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Kickstarting an anthology of World War 3 Illustrated

Stephanie writes, "PM Press has launched a Kickstarter fundraiser to publish a glorious, hardcover, full-color, 320-page anthology of the 35-year-running political comics magazine World War 3 Illustrated. Founded in 1979, WW3 was one of the first American magazines (along with Raw and American Splendor) to treat comics as a medium for serious social commentary and journalism. Contributors include Sue Coe, Eric Drooker, Fly, Sabrina Jones, Peter Kuper, Kevin Pyle, Spain Rodriguez, Nicole Schulman, Chuck Sperry, Art Spiegelman, Seth Tobocman, Tom Tomorrow, Susan Willmarth, Peter Bagge, and dozens more."

WW3 has been a favorite of mine since I was a teenager, and PM is a great press with a solid track record of producing beautiful, well-made books (they did one of mine). A $40 pledge gets you a copy of the WW3 anthology.

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Kickstarting a pocket-sized board-game

Noah sez, "My dear friend Sam Strick of Laboratory and Scroll Down to Riker, is currently running a Kickstarter for an awesome board game that he designed, originally, to fit on the back of a business card. In addition to it's ultra small form factor (which means I'll be able to carry it with me wherever I go) it's the first game I've seen that has a communal worker pool. That coupled with it's lack of randomness means the game play has more of the feeling of something classic, like chess or checkers, than you're standard eurogame. At $5 a pop it's an easy - and painless - buy. For as long as I've known Sam his ideas have been strikingly unique and compelling, and rest assured that the extra money generated by this kickstarter, in addition to completing some of the cooler stretch goals, will lead directly to helping him and produce more awesome games."

This ticks all my Kickstarter boxes: low cost to pre-order, indie creator with a track-record for shipping, fun, beautiful.

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Kickstarting an adult coloring book: 99 Ways to Die

Chris Locke writes, "Why should kids have all the fun? '99 Ways To Die: a Coloring Book for ADULTS' is for mature audiences who love to color, but are tired of childish subject matter. Every page shows a different way to die. Full size version of the book is $25, pocket-size version is $15."

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Kickstarting a kid-friendly steampunk graphic novel

Thom writes, "When our Kickstarter for a kid-friendly steampunk comic was 'kicktrolled' last November, the Internet quickly came to our rescue. And while we ultimately cancelled that project for fear of a repeat incident, we're back with a new campaign for a graphic novel of our webcomic -- and a possible way to make 'Crimson Rhen of the True North' happen!"

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Kickstarting a steampunk survival/adventure game: 39 Days to Mars

Philip writes, "I'm developing a co-operative steampunk survival-adventure game called 39 Days to Mars, and it's just launched on Kickstarter!"

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New Disruptors 61: Attention to Convention with Matt Conn

Matt Conn wanted to organize a safe event for gaymers — that's people who game and are part of the LGBTQ continuum. The GaymerX event is meant to be inclusive of all people, but especially those harassed, marginalized, or ridiculed in mainstream gaming. The first GaymerX took place August 2013; the next happens in July. We talk about what it's like to help a community be part of birthing a new convention.

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Kickstarting art installations in former Soviet prisons

Marina sez, "Our names are Marina Andrijčić-Ojeda and Catarina Ferreira and we are the artists and co-founders of The Penitentiary, a collaborative site-specific art exhibition to take place in abandoned war-era prisons throughout Eastern Europe."

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Kickstarting Danger! Awesome, a hackerspace in Cambridge, Mass

Amanda writes, "Danger!awesome is an open-access laser cutting, laser engraving, and 3D printing workshop in the heart of Cambridge, tucked right between MIT and Harvard. Our mission is to democratize access and training to rapid prototyping resources, long reserved for academic institutions and multi-million dollar R&D labs. We want to teach anyone and everyone how to make, customize, and invent.

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Kickstarting a fun time-travel RPG

Laura sez, "For fans of investigative gaming, there's a new time-travel RPG burning up the Kickstarter charts. TimeWatch by Kevin Kulp adapts the GUMSHOE System for a fast-paced romp through alternate timelines. Someone is rewriting history, and it's your mission to get things back on track and bring the culprits to justice. You may even get a helping hand from your future self, Bill-and-Ted-style. The TimeWatch Kickstarter campaign is less than a week old, and has already brought in more than seven times its goal - two campaign extensions and three mission hooks have been unlocked so far. If you've ever wanted to match wits with a psychic time-traveling velociraptor, this is your dream come true."

$10 gets you a PDF, $40 gets you the printed edition.

TimeWatch: GUMSHOE Investigative Time Travel RPG

Kickstarting a backlit steampunk Nixie clock

Kyle writes, "I just launched my first Kickstarter for this Steampunk flavoured Nixie clock in black walnut or (optionally) purpleheart. Comes with a proper adaptor for whichever country you should happen to live, and has a customizable triple LED backlight (over 700 colour choices!)."

Kyle's bio shows a long career in prop production and other makerish pursuits, suggesting that he's capable of fulfilling commissions on deadlines. Clocks start at CAD$549.

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Rugged drone airframe

Drone designer Marque Cornblatt and Eli DElia have designed a sturdy multicopter airframe that stands up to the typical kinds of abusive inflicted on drones by clumsy newbie pilots. He's launched a kickstarter for these nearly indestructible frames.

World's Toughest Action-Sports Airframe by Game of Drones

Kickstarting a chiptunes album on a Game Boy Advance cartridge

Doctor Popular writes, "My new album, Destroy All Presets, was created using the Nanoloop cartidge on a GameBoy Advance. I decided to do it that way partially because I love working with limitations and partially because I love the sounds you can get off of these old devices. To help promote it's release, I'm producing a small run of Nanoloop cartridges that come preloaded with my instrumental tracks on them."

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Crowdfunding phraseology: which descriptive words correlate with success?

In “The Language that Gets People to Give: Phrases that Predict Success on Kickstarter" (PDF), a paper for the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, Georgia Tech researchers from the School of Interactive Technology present the results of their statistical analysis of every single Kickstarter since June 2, 2012. The study attempted to determine which words and phrases correlated with success or failure in a Kickstarter campaign, after controlling for funding goals, video, social media connections, categories and pledge levels.

They came up with a list of successful and unsuccessful phrases, and unpacked those lists, hypothesizing about why the given phrases produced their correlated outcomes. This analysis is much more useful than the phrases themselves -- after all, we don't know that people opted to fund a project because of the phrases "good karma and," "pledged will," and "also receive two," but we do know that all those phrases appeared in Kickstarters that offered some kind of reciprocity.

The paper's authors are Tanushree Mitra and Eric Gilbert.

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Crowdfunding a new Geek-a-Week deck

Len sez, "Back in 2010, I spent one year interviewing and drawing 52 geeks. I called the project Geek A Week. During that first year, I was able to interview some of the brightest luminaries in the geek world including Stan Lee, Neil Gaiman, Kevin Smith, Guillermo Del Toro even Boing Boing's own Cory Doctorow. Earlier today, I launched a new Kickstarter campaign to do it all over again."

$25 gets you a PDF and $42 gets you a printed deck.

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